While planning your next outdoor journey, creating a perfect camping food list can be a little overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be – and once completed, it’ll be the best thing you’ve done for your next camping trip.
Fortunately, we’ve made it simple for you to explore recommendations, learn about camping essentials, and have fun creating a personalized itinerary for your vacation.
Whether this is your first time sleeping in a tent or you’ve been doing this for a long time, you’ll want to pack basic camping meals as a good starting point. Plus, keeping the list and food items organized is an easy way to eliminate mealtime mayhem.
What’s the best camping food list?
Of course, the answer depends on your specific dietary preferences or demands and any restrictions, such as grain-free, vegetarian, vegan, or food allergies.
However, the ideal camping food checklist includes favorite meals that are easy to make, DELICIOUS, healthy, full, and well-packaged.
Whatever you do, always remember: Seasoned tent campers never leave without marshmallows!
I’ve put together a good list to satisfy all your eating needs, from big breakfast dishes to quick trail snacks like trail mix to keep you going throughout the day. So, gather your supplies and get ready to enjoy some tasty food while immersed in the beauty of nature!
Table of Contents
Traditional Camping Food list
This post contains simple meals for automobile camping. Car camping is defined as driving up to or parking near your campsite, having access to a cooler, and having enough space for your supplies.
The convenience of your tent site and not having to forego a few extra comfort things are the highlights of a car camping trip.
1. Pancake batter
Pancakes are the classic camping breakfast. Make your own pancake mix to bring with you, or use a simple prepackaged mix that only needs water.
Birch Bender’s pancake mix is my favorite! Each bag yields around 25 medium-sized pancakes. Plus, they have options for various nutritional demands like keto, paleo, and gluten-free. We’ve tried them all and highly recommend them.
Alternatively, King Arthur, among others, provides a Buttermilk Pancake Mix that only needs water.
2. Instant Hot Cereal, Granola, or Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a camping food staple that shouldn’t be ignored. It’s simple, warm, and doesn’t require much work. To save fuel and time, I recommend choosing an instant oatmeal mix rather than one that takes 10 minutes.
When we go camping, we use instant oatmeal packets. Everyone can choose their favorite flavor from the available options.
If you’re looking for a gluten-free breakfast alternative, instant grits are a good choice, especially when combined with an egg and butter.
I like to whisk an egg into my grits and top it with a pat of butter or grated cheese. Even if you would never eat instant grits at home, camping allows for such simple substitutions.
3. Scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu
Nothing seems to fulfill a camping breakfast quite like a dish of fresh hot eggs. Packing eggs for camping is hard unless you have enough room in your cooler to set the egg carton on top or have one of those egg containers.
If I’m going car camping for a short time, I’ll whisk the raw eggs ahead of time and store them in a mason jar for less mess at the campsite.
Scrambled tofu is delicious and high in protein. Remember to bring your favorite seasonings (garlic or onion, spices, mushrooms, spinach, and so on.)
4. Sausage for Breakfast (Meat or Plant-Based)
Protein in the morning is quite beneficial for activities such as hiking and swimming. With the convenience of a cooler, any breakfast sausage can be easily included in your breakfast.
Before your camping excursion, you can scrub, cut, or even cook your potatoes and put then in tin foil packets. Potatoes, a popular comfort meal, are especially warm when served as wonderful, crunchy, soft, and well-seasoned home fries.
Make the Best Homefries Ever ahead of time and simply warm them up in a cast-iron pan with a touch of olive oil if you want to serve a fantastic camping side dish or even a breakfast fare.
Truly the best home fries you’ve ever had!
6. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
If you take bananas with you, they must be eaten on the first day and kept outside the cooler on top of everything else. Apples and oranges, e.g., mandarins and tangerines, are the easiest to transport and the least likely to be damaged when camping.
Grapes mush up rapidly, but if kept dry, they can last a day. Melons are fantastic to slice and eat fresh at camp. Dried fruits in trail mix is also useful to have on hand.
Cheese is a must-have if you consume dairy products. Right? Do not leave the house without it! Cheese is filling and delicious, and it keeps incredibly well.
It also adds a richer flavor to various items, including eggs, burritos, sandwiches, soups, chili, and so on. Parmesan cheese stays well and is a good substitute for cheddar cheese.
Plus, when served with fruit, cured meats, and/or crackers, cheese is a quick and filling snack. If you’re going to sprinkle it on or combine it with other foods, get a bag of shredded cheese to make your job easier.
8. Tortillas or bread
This is a favorite of many. Ready-made bread can be eaten for breakfast, dipped into soups, or used to make sandwiches. As a dry food, bread is non-perishable – which makes it a must-have for your camping food list. Tortillas are one of my favorite ingredients since they can be used to make breakfast burritos, quesadillas, bean burritos, wraps, and flatbread.
What if your bread becomes stale? One of the great ideas seasoned campers resort to is to tear it up and drop a handful into your soup or sprinkle some water on it and heat it in a pan!
9. Soups in a box, homemade, or canned
When the temperature lowers and you need a quick lunch, nothing beats soup. If you got room in your cooler, bring a mason jar of your favorite homemade soup to enjoy – if not, your favorite pre-made soups are enough.
While camping, soups are a wonderful vehicle for more vegetables. Bring ramen packages and add an egg, spinach, or beef jerky for extra heft.
You may make this with either dairy or vegan butter. Butter is preferable to oil since it’s less messy to pack, especially if stored in a container with a lid. Oil, however, tends to spill or leak. In warmer weather, keep butter in a cooler to keep it from melting.
If you’re camping in chilly weather, add butter to your main meal since the extra calories will keep you warm when the temperature drops. Most importantly, butter tastes delectable!
Whole black beans or refried pinto beans are perfect for bean burritos or on the side with eggs and are an excellent camping menu. Refried beans can also be cooked in a pan with butter, cheese, and salsa to make a tasty dip for tortilla chips.
Bring some pasta, even if you aren’t planning on eating it. It’s usually a good idea to have much food on hand in case your return trip is delayed or you’re a long way from home.
Regardless, pasta is king! As long as you have access to clean water and pasta sauces, you can cook any favorite pasta dish over a campfire just as easily as you would at home.
Gluten-free or grain-free pasta is extremely simple to prepare.
Chickpeas, rice, quinoa, and lentil are the finest possibilities. Red lentil pasta is a personal favorite.
For the first day of camping, I prefer to bring a cucumber as a fresh accent to different meals. They won’t last long in a cooler with ice. They become chilly and mushy.
Grilled vegetables always make for great meals – especially after a long day. Over a campfire, corn, summer squash, eggplant, and sweet potatoes are all great foods!
A grilling basket is useful for roasting hamburger, meat strips, fish, shrimp, and your vegetables over campfire coals.
The wire grates clamp on the food, making it simple to flip and cook the opposite side.
Applying oil to raw food before putting it in the basket helps with food that falls apart easily, e.g. boiled fish. Try to remove any extra water from the uncooked fish using a paper towel.
14. Salsa and/or hot sauce
There is no condiment that my family loves more than good ol’ hot sauce to add spice to something basic, including camping cuisine. Anything delicious can benefit from adding hot sauce (think back to your breakfast grits or eggs).
Salsa can also be used in burritos and mixed into bean soup or chili to add flavor.
15. Peanut or other nut butter
Spread it over toast, crackers, or pancakes, mix it into Asian noodles, or make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For years, peanut butter has been a staple on our camping food list.
If you have allergies, use sunflower butter or another substitute that works for you and your family. Peanut butter can also be consumed with a spoon directly from the jar! I’m not the only one that thinks this way, am I?
16. Patties made of beef, chicken, kielbasa, or vegetables
Steaks and marinated chicken portions are very delicious when cooked over a campfire. Remember that you may cook these ahead of time and then fling them over the fires for a rapid warm-up or char-broiled flavor. Kielbasa is delectable meat.
17. Shelf-stable milk
Boxed shelf-stable milk (dairy or nut) is an excellent camping item that works well as a substitute for fresh milk. They feature screwtops and may be sealed and stored in your cooler with ice.
However, because they’re normally 8oz each (or one serving), they’re easy to use. You can add milk to soups and stews to provide creaminess, use it in cereals and pancake batter, or just enjoy it as a beverage with brown sugar.
When camping, yellow onions, red onions, and white onions are all good choices to have on hand. Unless you start bringing some onions for your vacation, the amount of times you might wish you had an onion to add flavor to a meal is limitless. They also have a long lifespan. Simply keep them free from moisture.
Raw, thinly sliced red onions are great on top of most savory dishes. All varieties sauté and caramelize well for use in stews, sautés, or as a tasty garnish.
There are countless uses for rice if you’re comfortable cooking it from scratch over a campfire or a camp stove! If you have trouble making your own rice, don’t be scared to buy pre-made rice packets!
You can also bring pre-cooked rice from home to make delicious fried rice or to use whatever you like. Fried rice is a quick and easy camping supper that you can supplement with veggies, (canned) chicken, eggs, or tofu.
Pre-cooked rice comes in different tastes and kinds – and is now available in all grocery stores. Whether you prefer jasmine, basmati, or flavored rice, remember to pack some for an extra food item or to serve underneath chili, stir fry meals, or soup.
Snacks on the Camping Food List
Granola bars or Peanut Butter-Almond Energy Bars are perfect for hiking or paddling.
- A mixture of Trail Mixes
- Chips de Tortilla
- Hummus and vegetables
- Peanut butter rice cakes or crackers (or nut butter of choice)
- Meat, Olives, and Cheese
- Popcorn in a bag
- Cookies or Brownies
- Condiments for Camping Food
- Spicy Sauce
- Tomato Sauce
Beverages on the Camping Food List
- Instant coffee
- Chocolate Milk
- Hot Chocolate
- Seltzer Water
Campfire Roasting Foods
Depending on your cooking style, you might need different equipments.
- Hot coals
- Sticks or forks for hot dogs
- Pie irons
- aluminum foil
- Grilling basket
- Dutch oven
- Reflector oven
By following the pointers in this delicious camp meals list, novice campers can be sure to have happy, full bellies while relaxing in the great outdoors. Most importantly, it’s a great way to avoid stress in the camp planning and cooking – which provides a better overall experience.
After a long trail day, a decent supper in the wilderness can feel like nirvana, and a little planning can go a long way toward making a trip enjoyable.
Because fuel is scarce, it’s even more crucial to choose foods that can be prepared fast and easily. Dehydrated foods or freeze-dried camping meals are fantastic options; my goal is to do little more than boil water and add ingredients.
Along the same lines, I aim to cook one pot meals, using ingredients that can all be added to the pot in succession without the need for multiple containers. Everything I eat comes from the same pot. This not only reduces the weight of extra containers, but it also reduces the effort of cleaning dishes.
Organizing things ahead of time will give you peace of mind, allowing you to actually enjoy your next camping trip. “Wow” your friends and family by introducing them to new ideas and delicious meals!
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